How to Set up a Lemonade Stand for your kids

Easy steps to a surprisingly profitable retail enterprise

I've been a fan of lemonade stands for a long time. This summer, I finally helped my kids get one started. It wasn't as complicated as I expected.

Here's how it went.

Business Plan

No otherwise-fun activity is complete without ruining it with a bunch of lessons. I asked my daughter to help me write up a business plan, which turned out to be a shopping list.

Rainbow loom bracelets were introduced as a sideline to the lemonade sales.

Lemonade Cups

We used Target's Market Pantry brand of lemonade-flavored drink mix. I believe it uses sucralose as a sweetener.

Making Lemonade

Each $1.74 box contains 6 packets, and each packet makes two quarts of lemonade. That's 384 ounces of lemonade for $1.74!

We had a three-gallon supply of water chilling in the refrigerator and freezer. I think starting with cold water is essential to delivering good lemonade. We also bought 20 lbs. of ice.

Lemonade Sign

The kids considered a few different prices for lemonade, settling on 50¢ a cup. This is the sign for the booth.

Big Lemonade Sign

To direct motor traffic to our house, I set up a couple of large signs on the major road near our house.

If I had planned ahead, I could have sent a group invitation out to Facebook friends.

Whole Lemonade Stand Setup

It was very sunny and hot, so I hauled two patio umbrellas from the back to the front yard. This was enough to shade the kids and the table.

The ice was kept in an ice chest until it was scooped out for a drink.


Open for business! We actually had two types of lemonade available.

Plenty of lemonade was consumed by myself and these two entrepreneurs.. at least until Gordon Ramsey showed up and chastised everyone for drinking our own product.

Great Customer

The first two customers arrived almost immediately, followed by a string of busy and slow times.

I think it would have been very difficult to attract customers without a major road nearby. This gal pictured was overjoyed to have found a lemonade stand, and left the kids a monster tip.

I hope she uses Yelp.

3d Printer

Running the lemonade stand was not particularly good for learning how to give change. About 70% of customers told the kids to keep the change. Many customers wanted to know if the kids were raising money for a particular purpose (it was for a Nintendo 3DS).

Throughout the afternoon, the lemonade supply would run low and one of the kids would come inside to mix another batch.

Happy Customers

A few cars rolled up and got the kids to serve them from their car window. I wasn't thrilled with that.

These guys missed the turn and drove around the entire block to circle back to the lemonade stand. I really felt like we had made their day by giving them the authentic lemonade stand experience!

Counting Profits

My kids got some help from their friends, took turns at the register and lasted out there for almost four hours.

They sold gallons of lemonade, sold four bracelets and took in an incredible $45!

Price Breakdown

The next day, I helped them calculate the balance sheet. The cups had been $2.69 for 80, or 3¢ per cup. The lemonade itself had cost 4¢.

I was enchanted by this amazing profit margin, even after I realized that using bagged ice had added another 4¢ per cup!

I think the key to a successful lemonade stand is to guide a lot of motor traffic to your operation. If you can get them to stop, I guarantee you will have happy customers.


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